Monday, January 29, 2024


I remember hearing about the movie Max Rose when it first came out. I finally had the opportunity to see it. It is actually free on the Roku Channel as well as You Tube. The weather out is dreary so the movie is as well. Max Rose is a 2016 American drama film written and directed by Daniel Noah, and distributed by Paladin Films. The film stars Jerry Lewis, Kevin Pollak, Kerry Bishé, Claire Bloom and Dean Stockwell. Its story follows a jazz pianist who suspects that his wife of 65 years may have been unfaithful.

The film was among the last released for Jerry Lewis, Dean Stockwell and Mort Sahl, before their passings in 2017 and 2021 respectively, although Lewis and Stockwell filmed scenes for other films later that were released before Max Rose, including The Trust, Persecuted, and Entertainment.

Max Rose is an aging jazz pianist who learns that his wife of 65 years may have been unfaithful to him. Though his career was not everything he had hoped it would be, Max Rose always felt like a success because his beautiful, elegant wife, Eva, was by his side. While going through her things, however, Max discovers an object bearing an intimate inscription from another man, a shocking revelation that leads him to believe his entire marriage, indeed, his entire life, was built on a lie. Coping with anger, withdrawal and his own fragile health, Rose embarks on an exploration of his past, all the while searching for Eva's mystery suitor, hoping to find the answers he needs to be at peace.

Jerry Lewis had not starred in a movie in quite some time, so I was anxious to see him on screen, and in a drama as well. Jerry did a good job on the script, but I think he lacked the facial expressions that his character needed. Kevin Pollack had little to do in the movie, but he was great as Jerry's son. The person that stole the film was Kerry Bishe as the grand-daughter that helps Jerry cope with the loss of his wife. If you are a fan of Jerry Lewis, you will like this movie. The film is a little bit choppy, but it is worth watching. After watching the movie, I reached out to my wife and told her how much I loved her. She thought I was crazy and asked "So what movie did you watch now?". It was a good swan song for Jerry Lewis...

MY RATING: 8 out of 10

Sunday, January 28, 2024


Here is a great advertisment that actress Miriam Hopkins did for Lux Soap. This was published in Silver Screen Magazine in October of 1934...

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Sunday, January 21, 2024


There are so many big band leaders. Some were famous for decades, and some faded away quickly. Tiny Hill had a unique sound, but faded from fame. Born in 1906, Hill was billed as "America's Biggest Bandleader" because of his weight of over 365 lb (166 kg). His signature song was "Angry", which he first recorded in 1939 on Columbia records' Vocalion label. He used sandpaper blocks and a güiro to generate a double shuffle "beat that makes the listener itch to dance" Hill was born in Sullivan Township, Moultrie County, Illinois. His parents were William Fred Hill (1880–1915) and Osa Crowdson Ault (1890–1982). His parents separated when he was seven years old and he went to live with an aunt. He was active in high school sports and was president of his senior class. He graduated from Sullivan High School in 1924. Hill then attended Illinois State Normal School for two years. Financial difficulties forced him to leave college to go to work. He went to Detroit, where he worked in a produce warehouse. After a series of short term jobs, he ended up driving a team of mules for the Midwest Canning Company in Rochelle, Illinois.

In 1931 Hill formed his first big band, which was known as the "Fat Man's Band". Hill played the drums with the trio, which played for several years in and around Decatur, Illinois. In 1934 Hill joined the Byron Dunbar band in Decatur as a drummer and vocalist. After a year with Dunbar, Hill left to form his own band, taking many of Dunbar's band members with him. They had their first appearance at the Ingleterra Ballroom in Peoria, Illinois on October 31, 1935.

Members of Hill's new band were Dick Coffeen and Harold King on trumpets; John Noreuil on trombone, Jim Shielf on piano, and Reightno Corrington on bass. The reed section included Bobby Walters, Bob Kramar and Nook Schreier, who also did arranging. The group's style was Dixieland jazz and hillbilly music. Their theme song was "Dream Girl". By 1937 the band was playing its warm and easy-to-dance-to music three nights a week to packed audiences at the Ingleterra Ballroom.

In September 1939, the band was heard over Remote WGN Radio broadcasts from the Melody Mill Ballroom in the Chicago suburb of North Riverside, Illinois. The band played for several years at the Melody Mill and acquired a large following throughout the Midwest.

Augmented by vocalists such as Allen De Witt, Bob Freeman, Irwin Bendell and Hill himself, the group's popularity soon extended to Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa, growing steadily throughout the 30s and 40s. Soon the band was playing in ballrooms coast to coast. Hill toured the country for a while and landed on the coast to play four months at the Casino Gardens, Ocean Park, California. He returned to Chicago in 1942. Further appearances included Aragon and Trianon in Chicago and The Rainbow Ballroom in Denver.


In 1943 Hill and his orchestra became the summer replacement band on the Lucky Strike Your Hit Parade radio show. In January 1950, Hill moved to Colorado where he would spend time when not on the road. He purchased a 140-acre (0.57 km2) dairy farm at Fort Lupton named Mountain View. In 1951 the band traveled 46,000 miles (74,000 km) in ten months. In 1952, the band racked up 61,000 miles (98,000 km) in 11 months, in his fleet of Packard automobiles. Fast cars were one of Hill's hobbies. In '51 and again in '52, the band was his guests at the Indianapolis Memorial Day Races. Another of his hobbies was cooking. In 1956, Hill opened Radio Station KHIL in Brighton, Colorado.

He eventually spent less time on the road and more time with his business interests.

Despite the ending of the Big Bands era, Hill continued to play in small combos in the Denver-Brighton area, often returning to the Midwest for guest appearances. Undeterred by the decline in the commercial appeal of the big band sound, Hill resolutely remained at the helm of the combo until his death in 1971. His final public performance was to a capacity audience in Emden, Illinois on July 17, 1971. The inscription on his tombstone reads: "Forgotten quickly by many, remembered forever by a few."

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


On January 16, 1942, the actress Carole Lombard, famous for her roles in such screwball comedies as My Man Godfrey and To Be or Not to Be, and for her marriage to the actor Clark Gable, is killed when the TWA DC-3 plane she is traveling in crashes en route from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. She was 33.

Gable and Lombard met in 1932 during the filming of No Man of Her Own. He was just starting out on his trajectory as one of Hollywood’s top leading men and she was a talented comedic actress trying to prove herself in more serious roles. Both were married at the time–Gable to a wealthy Texas widow 10 years his senior and Lombard to the actor William Powell–and neither showed much interest in the other. When they met again, three years later, Lombard had divorced Powell and Gable was separated from his wife, and things proceeded quite differently. Much to the media’s delight, the new couple was open with their affection, calling each other Ma and Pa and exchanging quirky, expensive gifts. In early 1939, Gable’s wife finally granted him a divorce, and he married Lombard that April.

In January 1942, shortly after America’s entrance into World War II, Howard Dietz, the publicity director of the MGM film studio, recruited Lombard for a tour to sell war bonds in her home state of Indiana. Gable, who had been asked to serve as the head of the actors’ branch of the wartime Hollywood Victory Committee, stayed in Los Angeles, where he was set to begin filming Somewhere I’ll Find You with Lana Turner. Dietz advised Lombard to avoid airplane travel, because he feared for its reliability and safety, and she did most of the trip by train, stopping at various locations on the way to Indianapolis and raising some $2 million for the war effort.

On the way home, however, Lombard didn’t want to wait for the train, and instead boarded the TWA DC-3 in Las Vegas with her mother, Elizabeth Peters, and a group that included the MGM publicity agent Otto Winkler and 15 young Army pilots. Shortly after takeoff, the plane veered off course. Warning beacons that might have helped guide the pilot had been blacked out because of fears about Japanese bombers, and the plane smashed into a cliff near the top of Potosi Mountain. Search parties were able to retrieve Lombard’s body, and she was buried next to her mother at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, under a marker that read “Carole Lombard Gable.”

Hysterical with grief and adrift in the empty house he had shared with Lombard, Gable drank heavily and struggled to complete his work on Somewhere I’ll Find You. He was comforted by worried friends, including the actress Joan Crawford. That August, Gable decided to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He spent most of the war in the United Kingdom, and flew several combat missions (including one to Germany), earning several decorations for his efforts. He would remarry twice more, but when he died in 1960 Gable was interred at Forest Lawn, next to Lombard..

Monday, January 15, 2024


Yes, I was excited to go see the remake of the 2004 classic Mean Girls. Now the movie has music! Directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. (in their feature directorial debuts), it is base on a screenplay by Tina Fey. It is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was based on Mark Waters's 2004 comedy film, both written by Fey and based on Rosalind Wiseman's 2002 book Queen Bees and Wannabes. It stars Angourie Rice, Auliʻi Cravalho and Christopher Briney with Reneé Rapp reprising her role from the stage musical, while Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles from the original film. I took my daughter to the opening weekend showing, and I thought the movies was pretty fetch.

Paramount Pictures announced the film's development in January 2020, with Fey returning to write the screenplay and serve as a producer alongside Lorne Michaels, who produced the 2004 film. Composer Jeff Richmond and lyricist Nell Benjamin returned to rework their songs from the stage musical, while Richmond also composed the film's score. Casting began in December 2022. Principal photography took place in New Jersey between March and April 2023. Mean Girls premiered in New York City on January 8, 2024, and was theatrically released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on January 12.

The plot of this version is pretty much the same as the 2004 version. There are some easter eggs calling back the old film. I won't ruin any surprises for you! A surprise for me was how catchy the songs were. They were really good. My daughter was familiar with the score being a musical lover, but they were all new to me. It was not a perfect movie, but it was a fun movie. I would have liked to have seen more of the old cast in this version, but the movie had some surprises. Tina Fey did an awesome job updating the script for 2024 audiences. I can not believe the original movie is 20 years old now, but this new version is pretty fetch as well...

MY RATING: 9 out of 10

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Wednesday, January 10, 2024


Brian Cox is one of those actors that has been in countless movies, but you may not know know his name. 
Brian was born in 1946 in Scotland..An accomplished and classically trained Shakespearean actor, he is known for both his leading performances on stage and television as well as his supporting roles in film. He has received many awards and nominations including two Laurence Olivier Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award as well as a nomination for a British Academy Television Award. In 2003, he was appointed to the Order of the British Empire at the rank of Commander.

Cox trained at the Dundee Repertory Theatre before becoming a founding member of Royal Lyceum Theatre. He went on to train as a Shakespearean actor starring in numerous productions with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company where he gained recognition for his portrayal of King Lear. Cox received two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Actor for his performances in Rat in the Skull (1984) for the Royal Court and Titus Andronicus (1988) for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He received two more Olivier Award nominations for Misalliance and Fashion. His New York theatre credits include St. Nicholas, which earned him a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Known as a character actor in film he portrayed Hollywood's screenwriting guru Robert McKee in Spike Jonze's Adaptation (2002). He also played General William Stryker in X-Men 2 the same year. For his performance in L.I.E. (2001) he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Cox's notable film credits include Manhunter (1986), Rob Roy (1995), Braveheart (1995), The Boxer (1997), Rushmore (1998), Super Troopers (2001), The Bourne Identity (2002), The Ring (2002), 25th Hour (2002), Troy (2004), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Red Eye (2005), Zodiac (2007), The Escapist (2008), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Coriolanus (2011), and Churchill (2017).

He just finished starring as Logan Roy on HBO series Succession (2018–2023), for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. I really started noticing him when I watched Succession, but I first noticed him as an actor in lesser roles in The Ring (2002) as a suicidal father and in the comedy The Ringer (2005) as Johnny Knoxville's crooked uncle. Whether Brian is playing one of these lesser roles or as the lead on a television series, he is one of this generation's greatest character actors...

Friday, January 5, 2024


Glynis Johns, remembered by movie audiences as Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins and by Broadway devotees as the first person to sing Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” on a national stage, died Thursday of natural causes at an assisted living home in Los Angeles. She was 100. Her death was announced by her manager and publicist Mitch Clem. “Today’s a sad day for Hollywood,” Clem said in a statement. “She is the last of the last of old Hollywood.”

A Tony winner (Best Actress/Musical) for her performance as Desiree Armfeldt in the original 1973 Broadway cast of the Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler A Little Night Music, Johns both debuted and, due to her widespread acclaim, helped popularize what would become perhaps Sondheim’s most beloved and well-known songs with “Send in the Clowns.”

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, the Welsh Johns made her West End debut in 1931 at age 8 in Elmer Rice’s Judgment Day, but wouldn’t hit the Broadway stage until 1952, when she played the title role in Enid Bagnold’s play Gertie. Over the next decade she’d appear on Broadway twice again — in 1956’s Major Barbara and 1963’s Too Good To Be True — but it wasn’t until 1973, with Night Music, that she became one of the major Broadway stars of the era.

Sondheim wrote “Send in the Clowns” specifically for her (and her husky voice). The song would go on to become a popular standard, with versions by Frank Sinatra, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand and countless others.

In the meantime, she made an indelible impression as the eccentric Winifred Banks, a liberated, if harried, mother in desperate need of a nanny in Walt Disney’s massive hit 1964 film Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews. As Mrs. Banks, Johns performed one of the more memorable tunes not sung by Andrews or co-star Dick Van Dyke: “Sister Suffragette.”

While Johns would go on to star in one more Broadway production — The Circle in 1989 — she would be a more frequent presence on TV and in film, where she had started her career in 1938 with the movie South Riding.

In the decades prior to Poppins, her credits included the films 49th Parallel (1941), An Ideal Husband (1947), Dear Mr. Prohack (1949), The Magic Bus (1951), The Promoter (1952), Around The World In 80 Days (1956) and, in perhaps her highest-profile film prior to the Disney classic, 1960’s The Sundowners, for which she earned a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination

On TV, she appeared in the early ’50s drama series Studio One and Lux Video Theatre, and then such 1960s episodic programs including Naked City, Dr. Kildare, The Lloyd Bridges Show, Burke’s Law and The Defenders. She starred in her own short-lived Desilu sitcom Glynis in 1963, in which she played a rather daffy mystery writer.

Scores of TV credits would follow over the next several decades, with one standout being her 1967 turns on several episodes of Batman, in which she played Lady Penelope Peasoup, a seemingly upper crust society type secretly running a finishing school for villainesses with her brother Lord Marmaduke Ffogg (Rudy Vallée).

But her most notable latter-day TV role came in a 1983 episode of Cheers, when she played the snooty (but desperately broke) Helen Chambers, dowager mother of Shelley Long’s Diane Chambers. Demanding that her daughter immediately marry in order to meet the requirements of daddy’s will, “Mummy” deadpans, “I’ll never be broke. I’ll either be rich or dead, the choice is yours.”

In her own life, Johns was married and divorced four times — the first to actor Anthony Forwood, who rather famously left her for the man who would become his long-term partner, actor Dirk Bogarde. A son from the marriage, Gareth Forwood, was her only child. He died in 2007.

She is survived by a grandson and three great-grandchildren....

Wednesday, January 3, 2024


You know, all these years, and I never knew that Ray Milland was a Welsh actor?!?!?! Anyways, Ray was born on this day in 1907. He is best known for his his Academy Award- and Cannes Film Festival Award-winning portrayal of an alcoholic writer in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend (1945). Milland was born Alfred Reginald Jones in Neath, Wales, the son of Elizabeth Annie (née Truscott) and steel mill superintendent Alfred Jones. He was schooled independently before attending the private King's College School in Cardiff. He also worked at his uncle's horse-breeding farm before leaving home at age 21. Of his parents, he wrote in his 1974 autobiography:

My father was not a cruel or harsh man. Just a very quiet one. I think he was an incurable romantic and consequently a little afraid of his emotions and perhaps ashamed of them ... he had been a young hussar in the Boer War and had been present at the relief of Mafeking. He never held long conversations with anyone, except perhaps with me, possibly because I was the only other male in our family. The household consisted of my mother, a rather flighty and coquettish woman much concerned with propriety and what the neighbours thought.

Prior to becoming an actor, Milland served in the Household Cavalry. An expert shot, he became a member of his company's rifle team, winning many prestigious competitions, including the Bisley Match in England. He won the British Army Championship in both pistol and rifle marksmanship. However, acting was his true calling. His first appearance on film was as an uncredited extra on the E.A. Dupont film Piccadilly (1929). After some unproductive extra work, which never reached the screen, he signed with a talent agent named Frank Zeitlin on the recommendation of fellow actor Jack Raine. 

Milland's first experience in making a Hollywood film resulted in a humiliating scene on the set of Son of India (1931), when the film's director Jacques Feyder berated Milland's acting in front of the entire crew. Despite this setback, the studio executives talked Milland into staying in Hollywood, and in 1930, he appeared in his first US film Passion Flower. Over the next two years, Milland appeared in minor parts for MGM and a few films for which he was lent to Warner Bros.; he was often uncredited. His largest role during this period was as Charles Laughton's nephew in Payment Deferred (1932).

After a bunch of little roles with little work, Ray returned to England. However, he was contacted by Joe Pasternak, who was looking for an 'English' actor for the lead in his new picture, Three Smart Girls (1936). Although Pasternak worked for Universal Studios, Paramount had agreed to lend Milland out for the film.

On returning to Paramount after Three Smart Girls was wrapped, Milland was used as a test actor to find a new starlet for The Jungle Princess (1936). When the studio chose Dorothy Lamour for the lead, Milland wrote in his autobiography that Lamour was confused to find that he was not to be her male lead and she requested Milland to be her co-star. Paramount was not keen, but when Three Smart Girls was released to rave reviews, they gave Milland the role. The rest is movie history...